The Love Letters: I Owe My Snitching Career to Martin Pyne

Photo credit: Paulina M. Pascual Photography.

by Marcus Toomey

Game 5 of World Cup 8. My team is eliminated, my body is tired, but my tail is on and I’m feeling ready. I’d put away 6 minutes against the Crimson Elite the night before and more than anything I just wanted to show up in a big way as a snitch. It was my fourth game of the tournament and my eighth game overall as a snitch.

It was Skrewts versus Minnesota.

I lasted 8 seconds. I’d gotten cocky, and the Minnesota seeker burned me as I spun out of an attempt by the Skrewts seeker.

I was woefully underprepared for what I had just been sent to take on. It was a do-or-die game for both teams, and I lost focus because I was too busy hulking out. Martin Pyne didn’t mince words during our first in-person interaction. I’ll never forget that moment, and I’ll never forget the fact that I let an awareness mistake cost me a game. I’ll also never forget what Martin told me that day: “You need to be better if you’re going to take on these big games.”

Lesson: Don’t get cocky, train harder.

Four, maybe five games into a small tournament almost a full year later, I’m fitter, faster, and smarter as a snitch. It’s my second game of the day and my 33rd game overall. The minutes tick away. One minute, two minutes, five minutes, ten minutes, fourteen minutes in, and I’m on one arm, backing towards the score table. I lose the seeker, who as I’m writing this is a teammate of mine, and I get caught on an awareness mistake. I’ll never forget the feeling of those fourteen minutes almost disappearing because I dropped a game on a rookie mistake.

Lesson: Drew Sutorious is sneaky. Never lose a seeker in game.

Boise State University, this season. I’m staring down the starting seekers for Crimson Elite and Boise State. Heart racing, feet ready. I already start tapping into what I affectionately call “the Animal.” That little part of me that can push my body to run faster, react quicker, and shift from a good snitch into a great one.

Throw, run. Throw, run. Throw, grapple.

As I square up against one of the seekers, I’m not prepared for him to jump over me. He does a full flip over me standing nearly straight up and catches the tail.

Lesson: My weakness is attacks from up high. Train against it.

I certainly take pride in my successes. I’ll never forget the first time I got to one arm. I’ll never forget the first broom pull I managed. I’ll never forget lasting 19 minutes.

However, I don’t take those with me when I step onto the pitch. I take my struggles with me. I’m always running away from a bad game instead of running towards a good one. I focus on taking the lessons from my worst games more than getting amped up from any one good game. I have had and will continue to have bad games, and it is because of each of those memories that I continue to develop as a snitch.

To all my fellow snitches, from the upstart rookies to the Gabe Garcezes of the world, remember: be humble in your best games and be honest about your worst ones. You owe the teams you face, the seekers you fight, and your fellow snitches every ounce of effort you have in outrunning your failures.

I love my failures. I’d like to challenge you to love yours. Or at least never stop outrunning them.

 

 

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